Run Free Texas 8k – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey participated in an ARC member interview as the first person to register for the 2016-2017 Distance Challenge, after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” Distance Challenge runner. We have asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

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I’m a new member of the Austin Runners Club, #daringthedistance for the first time. I have two small kids and work full-time so I don’t have a ton of time for group runs, but I like to say what I lack in training I make up for in enthusiasm! Getting back into running after taking most of the summer off has felt great. I kicked off the season last month at the Marathon Relay and have been so excited to get the Distance Challenge started with my first 80’s 8k.

My main concern going into this 5-mile run was whether I should wear my bright pink hat or a ratted side pony. Actually, I never sleep well before an early race and Cedar Park is a bit of drive for me – but the venue was easy to find, parking was a breeze, and the weather was absolutely perfect with cool temps and clear skies. Oh, and they had real bathrooms at the stadium. No porta-potties!

I hadn’t previewed the course at all and was surprised to find it set back in a quiet neighborhood with slight rolling hills throughout, lots of smooth turns and a nice downhill finish. There was just enough support for this small event and I felt strong the whole time, averaging a 9:05 pace (that’s fast for me!). There was a great energy on the course and the miles seemed to fly by as we meandered past sleepy homes in a sea of running shorts with the occasional leotard, leg warmers, and shock of neon. I streamed 80s music and enjoyed every minute of it.

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This event was dominated by ARC Distance Challenge participants, which meant there was a long line for tacos and VIP snacks. I was able to get to know a few fellow runners in line, most of whom were sporting their awesome new DC shirts. While I’d hoped to see more 80’s attire, it was clear that everybody enjoyed the event and if this was any indication, the Distance Challenge is going to be epic. Tons of veterans, lots of newbies, people of all abilities, age groups, and paces – so much excitement for the series and perhaps a little trepidation for the Decker Half. My goal is to train well and finish without injury (and I wouldn’t mind a PR in the 3M). One down, four to go…

Can’t wait to see you all again at the Run for the Water!